In fact, it’s as close as your fingertips!
In my recent article Stress Reduction Tips for a Happy Nervous System I talked about how to tell if you are running hot or cold.
The simple stress reduction tip I described of touching your fingers to your neck or your palm can help you tune into whether your body is getting ready to jump into fight mode.
Up Your Stress Relief Exercises with This Tip!
To make your Brief Recovery Exercise (BRE) even more effective, I want to add another set of tips…literally!
As you go through your BRE you want to add noticing your finger tip temperature to your regular routine.
It’s a simple addition…
When you stop to notice signs of stress (or are reminded by your dots or phone app to check your stress level) you are checking to see how your body is breathing and the tone of your mind and how your muscles feel.
Now I want you to add checking the temperature of your finger tips by touching your finger tips to the palm of your hand or your neck as part of this relaxation exercise.
Whatever you are using for your stress buster reminder system, this simple tip can have you coping with stress in a positive way before you experience the negative effects of stress.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Includes Your MIND!
Mindfulness based stress reduction is a popular topic these days.
But sometimes we forget that this stress management technique includes training both the conscious mind AND the subconscious mind.
Biofeedback training includes becoming aware of the language of your subconscious mind.
Wondering how to do that?
Biofeedback Training Shows You How to Manage Stress
As you go through the relaxation exercises I have shared with you in various articles, you are already increasing your skills.
You learn ways of dealing with stress that help to guide three of your body systems into the other part of the BRE– which is the Recovery part.
- You are choosing to guide your body into those slow belly breaths
- You are choosing to use your mind to help guide your body in to recovery by saying your quieting phrase in the sound of voice your body responds to and…
- You are choosing to guide your body to release muscle tension in areas where YOUR body tenses under stress UNTIL these areas feel whatever relaxed feels like to you (such as heavy or soft)
But there is another key part of stress management that we are missing…
How to Decrease Stress with Your Thoughts
The nervous system is very, very sensitive.
It listens to the mood of your thoughts for clues.
Think of it as a deer will listen to the sound of your voice for signals to be afraid…or not…
Or how a three year-old from another part of the world will listen to you speak…
They don’t understand WHAT you are saying but the do understand WHAT YOU MEAN!
This “tone” behind your voice is the sound of what you hear and remember.
And we should know it too!
Because we listen to this voice in our head all day long!
And your nervous system is well-trained to follow along with your mind in a very subtle way.
(This nervous system can quickly learn to keep the body in battle-readiness because of trauma that happened during any part of our lives or because of a prolonged stress.)
But old habits can be changed!
Because this system is run through your subconscious mind you can ask for change with pictures or very simple and repeated words like “safe and warm.”
Warming Up To Stress Management Strategies
Let’s get deeper into this stress release technique as you learn how to add the next step: warming your fingers.
This simple, yet powerful addition to your BRE tells you that you are calming your nervous system.
For this expanded relaxation exercise, imagine the feeling of warming in your fingers.
- It can feel like a tingling or pulsing or flowing warm feeling.
Visualize and experience thoughts like:
- Words or phrases (simple and repeated-like safe and warm)
- Warm pictures (like you nestled into the warm sand on a beach with the sun beating down on you or holding your hands by the flame of a fire and feeling the warmth spreading across your fingers)
- Simple visualizations like picturing your hands wrapped around a warm mug steaming with hot chocolate
- Or just imagine a feeling of warming.
Learning To Let Go…
This addition to your BRE has three parts:
- Part #1: Notice signs of stress
- Part #2: Ask/Request (The visualization and experience that you just discovered is the request part of the technique.)
- Part #3: Let go…
Part #3 is the last and the pretty tricky part….you want to NOT TRY.
Think of it this way:
Visualize that you are approaching a deer and you hold out your hands asking for the deer to feed.
If you TRY to get a deer to feed from your hands it will back away.
Your mind will need to learn how to LET GO of trying…to let it go and let it happen.
This part of the stress management technique requires you to be passive…to allow…to be an observer.
Wrapping Up the Relaxation Exercises
This article brings you through this addition into your daily practice.
- Start to observe the temperature of your fingertips.
When you notice the temperature, check out the mood of your mind…is your mind saying nothing needs to happen or is there some effort in your thinking or mood?
Your nervous system needs time to “rebalance.”
This means allowing time for your mind to step away from the URGENCY of the “to-do” list.
Note that this doesn’t mean there is no to-do list.
But stress management is about saying that the EFFORT of your mind needs to shift every now and then (about every 30 minutes or so) if your nervous system is to have a shot at re-balancing and getting back into the stress-recover cycle that it so desperately needs.
I hope you enjoyed expanding your techniques for stress reduction!
More training exercises for this area of self-regulation are coming up next!
Want to learn more about stress reduction?
Take the first step!
Click here for my Special Report: Biofeedback Training- Discover the Power of Your Mind to Control Your Body
Author: Jinny Joy LaRock, RN, BCB Sr. Fellow